No Yankees-Red Sox game is ever devoid of something interesting. Tonight’s opening game in Fenway was no exception.
I mean, it started off rather normal. The visiting Yankees batted first, of course, and took advantage of the energetic booing of tonight’s freezing crowd to push the Yankees into some hitting in the 1st inning. Former Red Sox Ellsbury led off the game with a single, then two outs and walk later, scored on Carlos Beltran’s double.
And the fire alarms go off in the 3rd inning. Sirens blaring, lights flashing. But this is Boston. No immediate threat, everyone stays put, the game continues on. Alarms off eventually. Assumed it was a prank. But who cares. The Fire Marshall will figure it out. There was a game to play. A very tight, very intense game to play.
And it was CC Sabathia’s turn to start for the Yankees. Sabathia still isn’t quite up to what we know Sabathia can be, but it wasn’t a “bad-CC night” either. When he got himself into jams, he was able to get out pretty well. Over his 6 innings, Sabathia threw 110 pitches, giving up 7 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and struck out 3 Red Sox batters. He had a couple of sticky innings. In the 3rd inning, a lead-off double scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game, and a solo home run into the Green Monster seats in the 4th put the Red Sox up over the Yankees by 1 run.
No worries, though. Once the Yankees got into the Red Sox bullpen, it was back to the Yankees being in control. In the top of the 7th, Gregorius walked (which opened the bullpen), and two outs later, Teixeira was hit by a pitch on his hand. That pitch also hit the catcher’s hand after hitting Teixeira’s. Teixeira stayed in the game, but the catcher came out for testing. (By the way, the catcher fractured his hand and will require surgery.) A big single from Brian McCann scored Gregorius and tied the game back up.
Reliever Esmil Rogers took over for Sabathia in the bottom of the 7th, and despite issuing a walk, kept the scored tied and turned it back over to the Yankees offense to do something.
And something, they did. With the change to the Red Sox pitching, the Yankees changed up their line-up a bit, sending in pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez to bat in the DH spot in the 8th inning. Rodriguez is used to hearing the boos at Fenway, but tonight’s echoed and resonated and could probably be heard at Harvard Yard. It just fed into whatever Rodriguez decided to do. Ahead in the count 3-0, he took the next pitch and smacked it into the Green Monster seats. Career home run #660, tied Willie Mays on the All-time Home Run list, effectively irking the antagonistic crowd, and pushed the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox.
With the Yankees now in the lead, it was time to send in the Dynamic Duo. Betances and (another former Red Sox)Miller tag-teamed their way through the 8th and 9th inning, effectively shutting down Boston batters and keeping the score firmly in the Yankees’ favor.
Final score in Boston: 3-2 Yankees.
Rodriguez took his time to reminisce tonight following the game and all the interviews. He was reminded of his family who has stood by him through everything, specifically his mother and his two young daughters. And he was reminded that he played his first MLB game at Fenway almost 20 years ago. He was a young 18-year-old shortstop for the Mariners on July 8, 1994, batting 9th and going 0-for-3 in the Mariners’ 4-3 loss to the Red Sox that day. The next day, Rodriguez would get his first MLB hit (2 total in that game) and the Mariners would win the game.
Most players don’t make it 20 years in professional sports, and most players don’t have some of the problems that have dogged Rodriguez in those 20 years (especially these last 10). For most Yankee players, creating memories at Fenway is one of the interesting parts of the job. Now, Rodriguez has yet another to add to his growing list.
A great author once wrote, “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” In other words, take the time to remember, but remember the good things, the things you cherish as memories, the things you want to share with your children and grandchildren one day. Let the rest fall where it may. Once the price has been paid and the consequences rendered for our mistakes, moving forward into good memories and making new ones is what’s important. Milestone or not.